It's late, and, like always, I write this paragraph last, so all the stuff below sounds like it mysteriously predates whatever I say here. I usually try and make this intro paragraph as time-neutral as possible, since it can get confusing reading sequential paragraphs that are really chronological. But, tonight I wanted to talk about how late is is right now - and how I don't know why I'm even up right now... I guess I got too wrapped up in fiddling with the databases (read on). So, the "last nights" and whatnot are all confusing... it's all the same day really. Enjoy.
Last night, I did some quick modifications to my StatTraq plugin which stops it from adding known referrer spam links to the database. I realize a solution using .htaccess is more robust - blocking referrer spam from my entire domain - but I could never get .htaccess to work right. So, I made some rough hacks to my stattraq.php file that tell the plugin to ignore spam referrers based on keywords; they never make it into the database. I didn't make it pretty, meaning you have to go in and add new keywords to the actual stattraq.php file when you want to update the block list. I borrowed the base keyword list from a post at Caveat Lector, and it seems to work pretty well using wannabrowser to test. I also created an SQL statement that can be run from phpMyAdmin and will do row deletes based on the same referrer spam keywords, cleaning up the stattraq table a bit and making my statistics relevant again. Referrer spam is the ultimate annoyance to me, so I'm ecstatic that I've made some progress at blocking it.
From the music department: With memories of liking their stuff on an old Bright Eyes split, and Ben's recent recommendation, I picked up the new Ambulance Ltd. LP. It's really good. There's one song on there that I absolutely love, track 3, "Anecdote." With a Beatlesesque whimsy and uber-catchy hook - I must have listened to it on repeat for an hour at work yesterday. Great plodding beat that makes me think of a trotting horse... good for working as it somehow implies steady forward progress. You can check out the song here, as well as every other song on the album for that matter.
I can remember buying blank tapes in bricks of ten and twenty from Wal Mart. Not the razor-thin 120min "Wal-Dub" brand, but 90min Maxells or TDKs. It would have been middle school... 7th, 8th, 9th grade even. I'd always been a fan of music, but meeting Kyle expanded my listening canon exponentially. He was into all kinds of music, and his dad would mail him huge boxes of tapes every couple of months. He got me hooked in no time, I was constantly borrowing his tapes so I could make copies of my own. His dad had a varied taste, so we got exposed to a lot of good music. I remember being so proud when I had over 100 tapes, then 200, and eventually tapes got pretty uncool right around ~300. I hand-labeled them, sometimes laboriously, drawing pictures or getting artistic. Sometimes Kyle'd have to tell me to "relax" because he hadn't even had the chance to listen to stuff before I wanted to take it all and mass-dub it. That's when this monster was born in me. My hording problem continues to this day, although now one 90min tape takes up roughly 200MB on a disk instead of half and inch on a shelf.
One time I had a thought, that you can map the phases of a growing kid's life to the Beatles' musical evolution. Well, OK, at least, it kinda worked for me when I thought of it.
You've got the "first four"... which I'd equate with the "innocent" times growing up... before you're troubled by much... when things are simple and easy. There's a formula for everything here, and you don't stray from it much at all - it works and it's comfortable, and you know nothing else. It's a carefree time, remembered fondly.
Round about 10 or 11, you're suddenly a little more world-aware. Not everything comes on a plate, you're starting to have non-standard thoughts. This is your "Help!" phase. You're maturing, slowly but surely... there's something different under the surface here, something very non "first four."
Enter age 12... the last pre-teen year. You're hearing and seeing things you've never imagined, absorbing information faster than ever. You're impressionable, you're thinking more about relationships and have become more introspective. Welcome to your "Rubber Soul," where you've taken a complete right-turn and have now established that there really is something very different going on with you.
Years 13-14, your "Revolver." You are now worldly, you've got some street-smarts, you're experimenting with some very unconventional ideas. It's obvious now to anyone with ears that you have changed. You are far beyond the innocence of the first four, you've distanced yourself from the am-I-or-aren't-I phase. Here and there are subtle hints of what's to come... a revolution under the surface.
15-17; holy crap you dropped the hammer, the throttle is wide open. You're at the apex of your coming of age and you're squeezing every last drop of excitement and newness out of the world. In this, your "Sgt. Pepper" phase, you're brain is wide open to anything... and it's obvious to all. Filled with wonder, over-indulgence, and reckless invincibility. Nothing will ever be like this for you again. You are unstoppable, you are high on life, every second of every day is bursting with some kind of feeling, good or bad.
You're 18-19, "legal." The insanity of your Pepper years has waned as the independent forces in you become more evident. You're less about me-me-me. Welcome to your "White Album." The forces that have been swirling in turmoil within you for the last few years are beginning to gel. Some might see this as "going soft," but it's actually the first real time you've been able to take stock of the emotional person you're becoming. You're taking the threads which you've been busy growing and finally weaving them into something. As such you may seem more many-sided than ever, but it's the breaking down before integration.
19-24 years old. The "Let It Be" times are uncertain, tumultuous. There may be infighting withing you, as you realize you've been doing this for quite a while. It's almost time to grow up and part ways with the activities of youth. You're paying bills, on your own, dealing with people like you've never had to before. At times you party like you have no responsibilities... at times you're serious. Your friends have the same cycles but not necessarily at the same times. The youth of your "first four" seems far off, and you're sad for it at times. Things are just too complicated... you find yourself wishing for a return to the "first four" days, and may even indulge in silly nostalgic "reliving" activities.
25-30. Welcome to adulthood. You've made the transition and your "Abbey Road" swansong is a perfect mixture of newfound confidence in maturity and owing nod to the things that came before. The end of youth isn't ugly, or bitter; you're doing some of the best work of your life. You bid a fond farewell to youth, but it's obvious you still know how to enjoy youthful fun. You're not reliving youth out of yearning anymore, the learnings of your youth are a part of you and evident in what you're creating. Enjoy it, because after this it's only Wings and Yoko.
Well, I guess that's it. I spent entirely too much time on that Beatles thing. Check it. Goodnight.